artist's sketch of Goofy stuck in a hollow log being loaded onto a sawmill track with other logs moving towards a giant circular saw blade

Concept Art From the Goofy Short How to Be a Lumberjack That Never Was Released

We all recall Mickey’s deeds of giant-clobbering glory as the Brave Little Tailor. Not to mention Donald Duck’s trip to Bahia—and Goofy’s super-goofy horseback riding lessons! But how many of us remember Mickey’s battle with a desert bandit? Or Goofy’s goof-ups as a lumberjack? Or Donald’s fight against an ultra-annoying teenage robot?

These cool cartoon concepts were developed alongside the classics we love; but unlike them, never got completed or released. Today they are footnotes in Disney history—

fascinating footnotes we want to know more about!

Join us as we vacuum the cutting room floor . . .  for an up-close look at the untold tale, How to Be a Lumberjack.

A narrator loftily explains how “virgin timber” is “Nature’s most precious gift to man,” and its harvest is managed by “that almost-legendary figure—the lumberjack!” But Goofy, our demo model, is almost-legendary for goofing up! Lumberjack Goof wastes no time getting a longsaw stuck in his overalls. Then he tries to chop down an undersized runt tree; an un-choppable petrified tree; and a whole line of telephone poles. Gawrsh!

sketch of Goofy stuck in a hollow log that's about to be sawed by a huge circular saw blade that he's holding still with his thumb

“Tree-topping is the lumberjack’s most dangerous job . . .  every precaution known to science is employed to ensure his safety.” Alas, Goofy’s hi-tech safety seat catapults him into a lumber flume. He jumps in a hollow log to stay afloat—and ends up just missing a deadly sawmill blade!

sketch of steam whistle blowing lout toot above a clock that reads twelve o-clock

“A dangerous life, you say? Yes; but thanks to these fearless men of the woods, [we have] 1001 life-sustaining necessities such as the chopstick, the yo-yo, the pogo stick, and that great old American tradition . . .  the hot foot.”

sketch of Goofy still stuck in the hollow log with the saw blade stopped at edge happily pausing to eat his lunch and dunk a tea bag in a tea cup

Poor Goofy gets to demonstrate that, too—with a burning wooden match in his shoe. “YEOW!”

Disney’s axe-handled epic grew up from a twig—starting in the 1930s, when it was first planned to star Donald. In that form, it sort of reached the public eye: Disney’s licensed children’s page in Good Housekeeping magazine was just then adapting shorts in development, and “Lumberjack Donald” (October 1937) was included. This 1937 Good Housekeeping page represents the original Duck-centric version of Lumberjack. Penciled by Manuel Gonzales, painted finals by Tom Wood.

illustration and text from children's page in Good Housekeeping magazine showing Lumberjack Donald carrying his axe, trying to cut a tree, getting chased by angry bees and being fished out of a lake

But the Duck finally landed in a very different treetop tale—1941’s Timber—and the woodman how-to reel was rebuilt for Goofy instead. Full storyboards were created . . .  but then the story got the chop, and we’re not sure why.

Lumberjack is as funny as many Goof tales that reached the screen; somehow, the fertilizer must have run out.